Things to keep in mind when buying an Apple Mac for school and college

For years, Apple Macs have been the centre of the classroom. In fact, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs envisioned the Mac to be a transformative educational tool. Although Macs are more expensive and the quality of apps and software is superior, they seem to have a huge fan following among students. Put simply, Macs dominate the education segment despite having a tiny market share compared to computers running on Microsoft’s Windows. Apple’s Mac lineup is growing, and although it’s less confusing to choose a Mac, there are a few things one needs to keep in mind when you buy a MacBook notebook or iMac for education. Here are seven things you need to know before you buy your first Mac.

Decide a budget

The first thing is to set a budget for a Mac – after all, buying a Mac is expensive. You should figure out what your needs are when purchasing a Mac. An entry-level MacBook Air might be perfect for a student but not for a graphics designer. So, sit down and set your budget. When you’re setting your budget on how much you want to spend on a Mac, make sure to keep these additional costs in mind like a case for a MacBook notebook and a mouse.

Apple Mac, Mac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air discount for students, student discounts on Apple Mac The first Apple Silicon Macs include the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini. Apple is yet to update the iMac with the M1 chip. (Image credit: Apple)

iMac vs Mac Mini

Before you agree to buy your first Mac, consider your long-term plan. If you are looking for a Mac for your kid for mostly schoolwork, an iMac would be a better option. The iMac is an all-in-one machine with a built-in monitor and speakers. It also comes with a Bluetooth-powered Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. The iMac makes a lot of sense for a lot of people, as it can be used by anyone in the family and not just your children. These all-in-one desktops look great and take less space. However, they are not upgradable, as Apple doesn’t design Macs for upgrades. So it is always better to configure an iMac based on your long-term usage. Currently, the iMac comes in two sizes and three models that are powered by Intel-powered chips. The base model would be great for school going students as it’s not only affordable but also a computer that does it all.

If you think the iMac would be slightly expensive (starts at Rs 99,900), the Mac Mini is the second-best option, considering you want to buy a desktop computer. The Mac Mini, in case you are not aware, has always been the entry-level model in Apple’s desktop range. The reason why the Mac Mini is affordable is that you only get the machine, like the monitor, keyboard, a mouse is not included in the package. That being said, starting at Rs 64,900, the M1-powered Mac Mini blows the competition. It’s way faster than the previous Intel-based Mac Mini, and has better graphics. The machine is designed not for students but for professionals as well. You can easily use the Mac Mini for everyday use, be it for web browsing, writing assignments, emails or editing videos. The base model of Mac Mini comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, though the top-end model gets you 512GB of SSD but also pushes the price to Rs 84,900. Both models, however, have the same Apple’s M1 system-on-a-chip (SoC). Apple also sells the Intel-based Mac Mini but you just avoid that model.

Apple Mac, Mac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air discount for students, student discounts on Apple Mac The iMac is better suited for those who want a stationary machine. (Image credit: Apple)

MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro

Chances are that you are keen on buying a notebook over a desktop. Do you have a college-going kid? Is portability a top priority on your mind? When you visit Apple’s online store or an authorised retailer, you have the option to choose between a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. That’s it.

Right now, Apple’s MacBook lineup looks like this.

*MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
*MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)
*MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Intel chip)
*MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019, Intel chip)

If you are looking for an ultra-light notebook, which fits in your budget and offers the latest M1 processor, the 13-inch MacBook Air is your best bet. The MacBook Air, needless to say, is designed for students or teachers who want a machine for web browsing, doing assignments, or consuming multimedia content. Choosing a MacBook Air is simpler than ever. All you need to choose the colour, storage, and memory. The Air is powered by Apple M1 SoC, so getting confused between different CPU options and GPU is out of the question.

In case, you want a 13-inch display but also want a better battery, speakers and Touch ID and of course, an Apple M1 SoC, simply pick up the MacBook Pro. An engineering student or someone studying architecture would better buy the MacBook Pro. However, keep in mind that the 13-inch MacBook Pro costs more than the MacBook Air. It starts from Rs 122,900 but it’s worth it if you are willing to pay for more improved battery life and a slightly better display. Just in case you want to pick up the Intel-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro or the 16-inch MacBook Pro, we are not recommending these models as they don’t really cater to students.

Apple Mac, Mac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air discount for students, student discounts on Apple Mac Apple’s M1 is an integrated SoC design, with processor, graphics, security and all packed inside a powerful 8-core chip. Thanks to the M1 chip, it is easier to choose a Mac.  (Image credit: Apple)

Take advantage of educational pricing

Apple’s Macs are built to last longer than rival notebooks and desktops, and hence the reason why Apple charges more for its products. Macs cost more than a Windows machine, but not many people know that they are also available at discounted rates for educators or schools. If you’re a student, you can save money on MacBooks with an Apple student discount through UNiDAYS, or your school/college advantage of Apple education pricing directly through the company. All you need to do is visit the India Education Store and check eligibility for Apple Education pricing.

Consider AppleCare+

Understanding AppleCare+ isn’t rocket science. It’s basically insurance for any Apple devices and it’s worth buying if you are considering purchasing a MacBook Air or iMac. Look, every MacBook Air and iMac comes with a standard-level warranty for free, which includes: one-year limited hardware warranty and 90 days of free technical support. But if you opt for AppleCarte+, it will extend your warranty from 90 days to 3 years and also get free technical support for that amount of time.

AppleCare+ for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro includes:

*Three years of limited hardware warranty
*Three years of technical support
*Coverage for two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months, each subject to a service fee of Rs 8900 for screen damage or external enclosure damage, or Rs 25900 for other damage.

Sure, AppleCare+ is expensive but there are advantages to it. However, AppleCare+ doesn’t cover loss or theft and is limited to three years.

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